Category Uncategorized

Let’s Show Some Respect for Our Language Learners, Shall We?

Ok, I know I’m treading a very, very fine line here because it’s so easy to slip into some kind of a patronizing attitude with your English learners, especially if they’re just beginning to study the language. I mean, really, how are we supposed to treat our students like adults while teaching them basic stuff […]

Could Love be the Answer… To Language Learning?

Hi, Ever wondered why some people live abroad for months or even years without picking up any more advanced language beyond simple greetings, “how much is this?” and “Chicken please?” I’ve met quite a few of them in my teacher-backpacking days. Are some people naturally more talented language learners than others? I don’t think so. […]

Turning on, Tuning in…

Remember I mentioned volunteer teaching at a local language school? It’s happening and it looks like tons of fun. Now that I have plenty of free time, now that I’m bursting with energy, I feel like this teaching gig is going to work out just fine. First things first, I really want to connect deeply […]

Sneaky Ninja Technique for Efficient Movie-Watching in an English Classroom

Hi, Recently I wrote about how English teachers use movies in their classrooms for baby-sitting purposes or in misguided attempts to help their students acquire authentic language as they watch incomprehensible blabber on the screen. I now realize it must have sounded a bit nasty and I didn’t really mean to be like that at […]

What’s Wrong with Showing Movies in an English Class?

Movies can be a great language-learning tool. Except most teachers I know have very little idea of how to use them to their full potential. Back in my teaching days in Cuzco we used movies as a kind of a baby-sitting tactic when we didn’t feel like working that day. This is, by the way, […]

Reading Extensively and Teaching English

Reading is one of the greatest language-learning tools, period. Numerous studies show that avid readers in their first language generally tend to be better second-language learners. They also typically get higher scores on standardized tests like TOEFL and IELTS. But reading is indispensable for the English teacher as well as for our students. I think […]

A Coach, Not a Teacher

Hi, just a quick report about my new private class. My two students talked for about a third of the class time (pretty useless for language acquisition but good for confidence-building); and for the rest of it I was providing as much comprehensible input as I could (in particular, doing focused reading; I will explain […]